The Dodge Viper has a loyal following of brand enthusiasts that feel as if the V10 powered beast represents everything good about being an American muscle car. However, it seems like most people either love the Viper or they are not a huge fan of it. Regardless of what your opinion is, there’s no question that it has some appeal to a lot of people. With a 600+hp naturally aspirated V10 and rear wheel drive that’s almost completely unimpeded by electronic nannies, it’s a blast to play around in or take out to the track. But alas, reports have surfaced lately that production on the Viper could be ending soon. However, there is a company called VLF that plans on keeping the spirit of the Viper alive and well with what they’re calling the Force 1.
If VLF doesn’t sound familiar don’t feel bad, you’re not the only one. They’ve managed to stay under the radar for the most part. This is shocking considering the auto industry powerhouses associated with the company. VLF was founded by Bob Lutz, who formerly worked as the Vice Chairman of General Motors. Lutz teamed up with the legendary designer Henrik Fisker, the man responsible for cars like the Fisker Karma.
You may not know it, but if you’re a fan of The Grand Tour, you’ve already seen some of VLF’s handiwork. Remember that gorgeous blue Mustang that Jeremy Clarkson drove in the very first episode of the hit show The Grand Tour? That’s called the “Rocket” and it was built by the brilliant minds and talented builders at VLF. But you could very easily tell the Rocket was based on the Mustang, and Lutz and Fisker wanted to do something that represented their talents better. Enter the Force 1.
VLF first debuted the Force 1 last year at the Detroit Auto Show and immediately you could tell Fisker ran wild with this design. He wanted to showcase the classic American muscle car looks with the long hood, short front overhang, and aggressive rear end. It’s possible the most skilled of moto enthusiasts could point out the similarities to the Viper, but overall the Force 1 followed its own set of rules. The Force 1 is in the news again thanks to the fact that it will now be offered with an option for a convertible.
The entire body of the Force 1 is made out of carbon fiber, which should help maintain a similar weight to the Viper, even though the Force 1 is getting all sorts of upgrades. According to Fisker, the sculpture on the Force 1 is “dramatic and powerful, relatively flat surfaces on the high end of the body side, with lines full of tension, emerging onto a rounder lower section.” He also goes on to say “The windscreen wraps around into the side glass, followed by an elegant, yet aggressive side-line sweeping up towards the rear deck. The graphics are uniquely sleek, with ultra thin lights in front and at the rear, UTV laser blade tail lamps, the thinnest tail lamps in the world.” All this comes together to produce a great looking car that would fit right in with a group of muscle cars, as well as luxury sports coupes.
One of the most appealing parts of the car is the powertrain lurking underneath all that carbon fiber, the same 8.4L V10 that’s used to power the Viper. The Viper produces approximately 645hp and 600b-ft of torque that equates to a 3.0-second 0-60 time and a top speed just over 200mph. But the brilliant engineers at VLF took that V10 and managed to coax another 100hp and 38lb-ft or torque out of this monster engine. And they did so while keeping it naturally aspirated. That added performance won’t help much in the 0-60 category, however the top speed is said to increase up to around 218mph thanks to some active aero on the Force 1.
VLF spent as much time upgrading and modifying the interior of the car as they have the exterior and drivetrain. Every piece of the interior has been wrapped with ultra-soft leathers with Alacantra and suede inserts scattered throughout. Even the shifter is milled out of a solid piece of aluminum and covered in the finest leathers. The Force 1 will also provide a brand new infotainment system that includes its own wifi connectivity due to an antenna molded in with a spoiler at the rear of the car. The list of upgrades continues, but to give you an idea of just how far VLF is willing to go, there’s an option for “milled aluminum hidden pen holder,” and “Wine/champagne/water holder for two bottles.”
The way we see it, that’s actually a good way to distinguish the difference between the VLF Force 1 and the Viper. The Force 1 is Champagne and the Viper is beer. If this type of performance and refinement appeals to you, it’ll “only” cost you just under $300,000 for the privilege to own one. But you better hurry because as of this writing they plan on keeping the production numbers under 200.